City eases way for restaurants, pubs to expand patio area

City council put its support behind local restaurants and pubs that want to expand their patio areas to serve more customers while physical distancing measures are in place.

On May 22, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch announced it would consider applications from restaurants, pubs and other businesses looking to temporarily expand their patio spaces. The temporary permits are effective until Oct. 31.

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On Monday, city council passed a motion to pre-approve any applications by local businesses, speeding up the application process.

"Administration will work with businesses who want to expand on city property," city general manager of planning and development Ian Wells said. "We're committed to work with any business owners who want to expand their service area."

Options could include locating tables on public sidewalks or roadways, Wells said.

"This is part of that recovery piece," Mayor Lyn Hall said.

The provincial temporary permits don't allow businesses to exceed their normal licensed capacity.

Coun. Kyle Sampson said many local food and liquor service businesses are continuing to face challenges. While being allowed to reopen is a step in the right direction, physical distancing requirements mean most are operating well below their normal capacity.

Allowing businesses to expand their patios and serve more customers will help those businesses that are struggling, he said.

"I think that is exactly what we should be doing right now."

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